Writers: Ian Flynn & James Asmus
Artists: Sara Pitre-Durocher & Tony Fleecs
It’s time for the final issue in this surprisingly fun little crossover. We’re being treated to two stories as usual in this issue. The first, “Strength in Numbers” focuses on Applejack as the Insecticons swarm her farm. The second is the aptly titled “Finale”. On paper, that should feature Twilight Sparkle and Optimus Prime solving the threat of Chrysalis and the Decepticons. I’ve stated before how much I’ve been enjoying this series so I’m hoping this last issue won’t disappoint. Let’s see.
I’ll admit right away that I’m a bit disappointed in this issue. The first story has some nice slapstick as Applejack tries to defend her farm. In terms of writing then it’s probably the better of the two but it doesn’t feel like it belongs here. What I mean by that is that it feels more like a My Little Pony story and less like a crossover. Unlike every other story in the series, there’s no autoboot for Applejack to interact with. The Insecticons threatening the farm don’t really get to show any personality either. They’re just there. The big climax is that Applejack’s family helps her ward the robots off but this is a crossover. Transformers-only fans who haven’t been introduced to these family members don’t know who they are. They’re just seeing a mountain of random ponies fight off the Insecticons. I don’t feel like this story does enough to appeal to both fanbases.
The second story, the big climax of this crossover, isn’t any better. It’s mostly just a big battle that crams every character from these franchises into a fight. The thing is that a lot of the time you can’t really tell what anyone is doing. Maybe this could’ve worked if the story was longer but it isn’t. This big, final battle just feels rushed and pointless. The ending of course revolves around Twilight and Optimus defeating the villains with the power of their friendship. We’ve barely seen the two together though so it doesn’t feel like a friendship has been built between them. There are some nice fan-service moments with the ponies and Autobots combining catchphrases but this “Finale” was a mess. The one good thing is that the ending hinted at the ponies potentially coming to Cybertron. I’d enjoy seeing that but I just did not enjoy this issue’s writing.
The art in the Applejack story is handled by Sara Pitre-Durocher and she does a good job. Despite the flaws in the story I have to admit that the characters look good. Much like previous issues, this is an MLP-inspired art-style but it fits the Transformers well. That entire story is the visual highlight of this issue. “Finale” on the other hand is handled by Tony Fleecs and I’m disappointed by him. He’s done a good job on past stories in this series but the robot faces just look weird here. There’s something off about them. In past stories, he hasn’t had to draw this many characters so maybe that led to a slapdash approach. That’s all I can think of to explain why the faces look so lazily drawn. Even the ponies lack detail. The art in this story honestly looks like it came from a high school student. It hurts to say that given my love of past issues in this crossover but that’s my honest opinion.
The lettering is the one good thing about this issue. There’s a good use of sound effects throughout both stories. One nice little touch is the differently shaped speech bubbles when Applejack is exhausted due to fighting the Insecticons alone. The lettering of the comic is mostly run of the mill outside of this though. It’s not bad but there’s nothing else that really stands out in any way.
This is the first issue in this crossover that I don’t recommend. Unless you’ve been collecting each issue and want the full set then it’s not worth it. If you want a good story starring Applejack then you may as well just read the MLP comics. The Transformers in her story barely even matter and could be replaced by any insect or villain. The final battle is a mess and the message about friendship feels forced. This is one of those few comics where I just don’t think it’s worth having.
Transformers/My Little Pony #4
This was by far the weakest entry in this entire crossover series. The opening story with Applejack was bland and the big finale was an utter mess. Characters weren't given time to shine and the art was inconsistent and messy through that final chapter. Lettering was the only real good thing about this issue and it was average at best. The first three issues were great but this one is only worth getting if you've been following the series and have the completionist mentality.